24 January, 2013

Boosting Customer Relationship Management with Social Media


Quite frequently, we see business managers and their subordinates using CRM tools to report numbers rather than use them as tools for what they were primarily meant to accomplish – build great relationships to bring in more business and revenue for the enterprise. Although the number of tools available is vast, there is still something that only humans can accomplish. Giving a personal touch and understanding your customers is very important and that you can do by using Social Media.

Sending out messages and pieces of messages is not all that is to CRM. In fact, there is a vast array of to-dos that will help your business maintain good relationships with customers, and that is not the end to all either. The other use for Social Media is retaining customers. The most anathematic thing that one can do to Social Media is high pressure selling. Experienced Social Media veterans will vouch for that in no uncertain terms. In addition to using Social Media for marketing there are many other things to which you can use it; chiefly, for acquiring new customers, retaining existing customers, taking current relationships to a higher plateau, reinforcing your brand image, social proofing and finally presenting yourself as an authority in your chosen field.

The worst mistake one can do when using Social Media is taking the different aspects to it in a piecemeal manner. What is actually required is a holistic approach from a potential or existing customer’s point of view. Top on such an approach is to engage them in a meaningful way. Give up your temptation to pushing information the hard way from you to your customer. Instead, make it a point to listen to what your customers may want to say; their needs and expectations will give you the much needed insight into building a long lasting relationship that both can cherish for a long time to come.

One of the biggest advantages inherent to Social Media is they let you interact at a personal level. This means you will be under obligation to answer your customer’s concern and queries. More than the queries itself what you will need to accept is criticism in a constructive manner. Accepting criticism has advantages; they give you the right insight, let you make changes to your products or services and send back messages to show that you are really changing for the better.

Collecting information and making a detailed analysis is just one part of the story. To be an effective customer relations manager you need to act upon the information you gather. Often it means, making structural changes to your business. You may have to reeducate your marketing staff, production managers and public relations officers. You can also take your efforts a step higher by promoting contests and polls in Social Media. A small reward and fair playing field is all that you need to ensure that everything in Social Media concerning your business goes smoothly.

It may seem alright to put your best foot forward in any Social Media customer retention efforts, but they will be of little use unless you document your efforts efficiently. Having voluminous data spread across thousands of documents hardly helps anyone, least of all Social Media managers. You must sooner or later consider buying software that keeps a tab on every effort you make. You can use them to make an analysis periodically to change tracks or keep pushing with your current efforts.

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